Using RSS feeds
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, also known as news feeds, let you know when new journal articles or relevant content appear on websites.
RSS feeds are a great way of saving time when accessing the latest information from a range of different sites, as they automatically check all the sites for new content.
You can tell if a website has an RSS feed by looking for the RSS icon – an orange square with white radio waves.
To collect and read news feeds you will need to use a news reader program or app.
There are various news readers for different operating systems, which are either free or you will have to pay a small charge; some are integrated with your existing software or email account (e.g. Microsoft Outlook RSS, AOL Reader, My Yahoo! or web browser extensions); some allow you to synchronise your feeds across multiple platforms (including the web, smartphones and tablets), and so on.
You only need one reader, so choose the one that will work best with your own computer/ mobile device setup.
Some suggestions are:
Subscribing to RSS feeds
It is very easy to add a new feed to your reader:
- Locate an RSS feed icon, usually found on a website’s home page or news pages
- Copy the feed’s web address (URL) or right-click the RSS icon
- Open your news reader and paste the link into the Subscribe field.
Most journals offer news alerts via RSS, so you can receive regular updates on new articles as soon as they become available. Remember to log in to your RSS reader regularly to check for new content.
RSS-to-email will monitor when a feed you are following has new content and will send an email to your inbox. This is OK if you are only following a few feeds, but not so good if you are following quite a few as your inbox will get cluttered very quickly.
Users can read and send brief messages up to 140 characters long; these messages are known as ‘tweets’ and can include news, information, photos, videos and web links.
Twitter contains a mix of personal and professional accounts.
For current awareness and CPD purposes, it is advisable to create a dedicated professional Twitter account rather than mixing business and personal tweets.
Once you have set up an account, you can find people or organisations you would like to ‘follow’. You will then be able to log in and view their tweets in a timeline. For example, the CSP is on Twitter (@thecsp) and you can follow the account to access key items of news that the CSP wants to relay to its members. See https://twitter.com/thecsp
Twitter is a good way of keeping up to date with news from journal publishers, public bodies, and key players in government and health and social care.
Some example Twitter accounts include:
- The World Health Organization @WHO
- NICE @NICEcomms
- The Department of Health @DHgovuk
- Elsevier @Elsevier
- The Kings Fund @TheKingsFund
- The Cochrane Collection @UKCochraneCentr
- The Stroke Association @TheStrokeAssoc
- Karen Middleton @KMiddletonCSP
- Physical therapy @PTJournal
- BMJ @bmj_latest
- Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy @JOSPT
This is just a selection of platforms that are available – there are lots more out there.